This is wonderful.
This is wonderful.
Guns. Media. Mental Illness. Lax Security. All these and more have been offered as explanations for the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, December 14 that left 26 people, including 20 children, dead. And all of those things may have played a role. But none are the cause of the problem. And heated debate about them, while important, serves to obscure some other very important conversations about the root issue, which is that the U.S. is a violent, militaristic culture that, in virtually every institution, demonstrates violence as a means of solving problems.
The US is a society organized for war. We spend almost 50 percent of federal tax monies every year on military—not just to pay soldiers and veterans, but to engage in conflict, for research and development of weapons and equipment, and more. When this amount of funding is spent on military, it clearly cannot be used to build infrastructure, to enhance the quality of our public schools, to provide social services, to assist the poor, hungry and mentally ill, etc. Our military budget is equal to that of the next fifteen countries combined. More than this, however, militarism is an ideology that privileges certain values, including hierarchy, competition, authoritarianism, and obedience, among others.
Politicians, fearful of being seen as “soft,” engage the country in still more violence, at the same time inadequately addressing human needs. This militaristic ideology has shaped the ways our schools are structured, what we teach, and how we teach it. It impacts our media, as commentators on either side of the political divide use the same aggressive methods of yelling at and interrupting one another and degrading their “enemy” whenever possible. Media over-represents the amount of violent crime, for which creates a fearful populace that will sometimes accept any effort that is supposed to keep us safe. Our criminal justice system is militaristic, from our incessant “wars on” mentality to our arming and equipping military-style swat teams and more. I could go on, but I hope the point is made.
To counter a militaristic culture, we need to begin infusing every institution with an alternate model. To do so will require not just schools but the other institutions listed here to begin to see their work as that of peacebuilding. We need to engage in dialogue that dissects our devotion to militarism and violence and that critically assesses its impact. [++]
To me, this article is pointing out the obvious BUT, if you haven’t noticed - THE MEDIA IS NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS ASPECT OF US CULTURE at all. They think that they can blame it all on the guns and gun culture but they are neglecting to even acknowledge what is fueling gun culture and invoking large amounts of violence in this country in the first place.
It’s NOT the Second Amendment that is driving people to seek out the largest and most powerful weapons known to man, nor is it a drive for self-defense. The real motivation behind a lot of gun culture in the United States is militarism. You see militarism in all the gun enthusiast magazines, you see it at the gun shows. But it goes much further, you see it in the toys that are sold to children, you see it when the USMC endorses an entire line of airsoft guns, you see it reflected in the culture at large - from video games and TV shows to our own language.
I’m willing to bet that if you banned the militarism in our culture, the desire for many of the powerful guns in our society would go down with it - and the amount of high-powered guns would decrease NATURALLY.
Militarism is feeding and influencing the USA’s gun addiction - if you control militarism, many other ills in our society will most likely decrease with it.
The comparisons are chilling
Any response to the Newton massacre that does not address its structural causes is merely a band-aid
Seven days ago it came to light that the US Military is targeting children in Afghanistan… no one batted an eye.
Today some guy did just that in Connecticut and killed 20 children.
Keep this in mind when you reflect on this shooting that occurred today.
Spread far and wide!
The struggle for abortion rights in Ireland
December 5, 2012
Abortion and the struggle for a woman’s right to choose is taking center stage on both sides of the Irish border, in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
The death of a young woman in the Republic of Ireland because she was denied an abortion brought thousands onto the streets in outrage—while in Northern Ireland, the opening of an abortion clinic in Belfast has challenged the conservative establishment consensus.
The debate is opening up a new front of struggle amid the ongoing repercussions of the collapse of the Irish economic boom, known internationally as the Celtic Tiger, as well as economic stagnation in Northern Ireland.
The economic meltdown has had a staggering impact on Irish politics and society. In the Republic of Ireland, Fianna Fail, the dominant party over the previous 70 years, was severely punished in the 2011 national elections. Austerity continues to widen inequality, deepen class polarization and fuel latent resistance. But resistance isn’t just developing for economic justice, but for social justice as well.
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Sativa Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian immigrant and dentist, died on October 28 after doctors at Galway University Hospital refused to terminate her pregnancy. Savita and her husband Praveen, were told an abortion couldn’t be performed because Ireland is “a Catholic country.”
The India Times correctly characterized what happened with the headline: “Ireland Murders Pregnant Indian Dentist.” Thousands have taken to the streets to demonstrate their anger at this completely unnecessary tragedy and to demand new legislation so it never happens again.
Savita, who has been in Ireland with her husband since 2008, was informed by doctors on October 21 that she was miscarrying. She suffered days of agony and her appeals for a termination were turned down. On October 24, the fetal heartbeat could no longer be detected, and the fetus was removed. But Savita had to be taken to intensive care with multi-organ failure. She died on October 28 after contracting a blood infection.
This happened because the Republic of Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Abortion remains illegal under the antiquated 1861 Offenses Against the Person Act. In 1992, Ireland’s High Court was pressured to rule that abortions could take place if there was a threat to the life of the mother and that women would have the right to travel abroad for the procedure.
The 1992 ruling came in response to a case in which a 14-year-old victim of rape was denied the right to have an abortion or travel elsewhere. Huge demonstrations and a massive public outcry forced the government to backtrack.
Some 3,000 women now travel from the Republic of Ireland to the United Kingdom or elsewhere for abortions every year. However, the cost of travel and arranging an abortion makes it much more difficult for working-class and poor women. While the Celtic boom made headlines in the financial press, provisions for maternity, parental leave and child benefits improved only marginally and lagged well behind the rest of the European Union of which the Republic of Ireland is a member state.
Child care costs in Ireland are among the highest in Europe, and one of the travesties of the Celtic Tiger boom was the government’s complete failure of to fund an expansion of widely needed public services.
The 1990s crystallized tremendous social and economic changes across Ireland, with divorce and homosexuality legalized. The transformation in consciousness in the Irish population accompanied a massive increase in female participation in the workforce. In 1961, 26.4 percent of women were part of the workforce in a total population of 2.8 million; in 2011, the employment rate for women was 56 percent. The gender pay gap is still 12.6 percent.
The majority of the population remains nominally Catholic, but there has been a huge decline in adherence to Catholic doctrine. For example, an Irish Times poll in September 2010 found that only 13 percent of respondents described themselves as “strongly religious,” and among those aged between 18 and 24, just 4 percent said they were “strongly religious.” Some 62 percent of urban residents said they attended religious services “only occasionally” or “never.”
On many defining issues, a majority of Irish Catholics don’t follow Church doctrine. Polls consistently show a majority of Irish people support abortion rights. The exposure of the Catholic Church’s tolerance of and defense of pedophiles in the 1990s also destroyed much of its moral authority. Overwhelming majorities support marriage for priests and the right for women to be priests.
In a free society, those who wield political power fear those over whom the power is wielded: specifically, they harbor a healthy fear of what will happen to them if they abuse that power. But the hallmark of tyranny is that the opposite dynamic prevails: the citizenry fears its government because citizens know that there are no actual, meaningful limits on how power can be exercised. A nation in which liberties are systematically abused - in which limitations on state power are ignored without consequence - is one which gives rise to a climate of fear.
This climate of fear, in turn, leads citizens to refrain from exercising their political rights, especially to refrain from posing meaningful challenges to government authority, because they know the government can act against them without real constraints. This is a more insidious and more effective form of tyranny than overt abridgment of rights: by inducing - intimidating - a citizenry into relinquishing their own rights out of fear, a state can maintain the illusion of freedom while barring any meaningful dissent from or challenge to its power. Here’s one four-minute video clipwhere I describe a personal example to illustrate how this pernicious fear climate operates; here’s another slightly longer video clip where I elaborate on this point more.
This morning, the New York Times reports on the US government’s practice of targeting US dissidents - or those whom it believes to be engaging in dissent - with extremely invasive border searches, including seizing (and sometimes keeping for months) their laptops and other electronic data, all without any warrants. …
Laptop seizures are far from the only tactic employed by the US government to put government opponents in a state of fear and thus deter others from engaging in similar dissident conduct. That is also the aim of measures such as the unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers; the prosecution of Muslim critics of US foreign policy for “material support of terrorism”, the targeted FBI entrapment and “preemptive prosecution” of US Muslims, NATO protesters, anarchist activists, and others with ideologies the US government dislikes; and - most of all - the ubiquitous surveillance state.
What makes this tactic particularly effective is that it will not affect those who have no interest in engaging in real dissent against the government. If you’re not a filmmaker who challenges the prevailing government narrative (Poitras), or a scholar trying to understand rather than demonize currents in the Muslim world (Abidor), or a lawyer involved in groups suing the US government for unconstitutional behavior (Wayne), or an activist advocating for WikiLeaks and working to protect online anonymity and thus thwart government spying and control of the internet (Jacob Appelbaum), or someone who supports Bradley Manning’s legal defense (David House), then you’re not going to be subjected to this sort of intimidation and rights-invasions, and it’s thus easy for you to simply assume that it does not exist.
In essence, the bargain offered by the state is as follows: if you meaningfully challenge what we’re doing, then we will subject you to harsh recriminations. But if you passively comply with what we want, refrain from challenging us, and acquiesce to our prevailing order, then you are “free” and will be left alone. The genius is that those who accept this bargain are easily convinced that repression does not exist in the US, that it only takes place in those Other Bad countries, because, as a reward for their compliant posture, they are not subjected to it.
But even in most of the worst tyrannies, those who are content with the status quo and who refrain from meaningfully challenging prevailing power systems are free of punishment. Rights exist to protect dissidents and those who challenge orthodoxies, not those who acquiesce to those orthodoxies or support state power; the latter group rarely needs any such protections. The effect, and intent, of this climate of fear is to force as many citizens as possible into the latter group.
The true measure of how free a society is how its dissidents are treated, not those who refrain from meaningful anti-government activism and dissent. To apply that metric to the US, just look at what the American citizens quoted in this Times article this morning are saying and doing.
Let this graph put things into perspective for anyone who’s even thinking about blaming Muslims for 9/11.
this needs more notes
my atheist post has like over 35k by now and it is younger than this post
this is important to understand
Glenn Greenwald, Progressive media claims they’ll be ‘tougher’ on Obama now
Shorter: Barack Obama had something to lose before his re-election, but you gave him asbestos shoes… Why would he care if you hold his “feet to the fire” now?(via theamericanbear)
I live in a small town in Michigan called Lake Odessa, with a population of just over 2,000 people. I live three blocks away from the post office so I walk my bills there every month.
So tonight I do what I always do and walk to the post office at around 10:30ish. As I was returning from the Post office heading back to my apartment, a cop pulls up, turns on his high-beams and asks what I was doing. I told him that I was doing what I do every month - mailing my utility bill. He then asked me if I had any weapons. He asked me to unzip my coat and my sweater.
So he asks for an ID; he then stops and frisks me. I had to set my wallet, my cigarettes and flashlight on the hood of his car. I then had to put my hands on my head and he frisked me from head to foot.
I asked him why and he told me it was “protocol”. He then sent me on my way.
The movie Battle Royale should be remade in the USA, but instead of a High School class being chosen in a lottery to kill each other on an island, it should be an entire Police Department selected at random.
It would probably out do Titanic in box office sales.
Lick the Devil - Skrillex & Kaskade and Skrillex & Wolfgang Gartner (The Lion mashup)
If you happen it be in the Atlanta Georgia area - you should stop by The Playground bar where my friend, The Lion, DJ’s quite a bit.